Love Letter from the Fatshion Trenches: Root Chakra Realness at Forever 21

Dear my Fatties and Fashion Lovers,

Did you know that Forever 21 has a plus size line called “Faith 21?” Not all of their stores carry the line, but the one near my day job does, and it’s freaking awesome. (I encourage you to go into your local Forever 21 and  tell them to start carrying it if they don’t yet.)

This dress from Forever 21 was my my jam last summer. I wore it to Chicago SlutWalk, where I met the fabulous Femmily (at left).

I buy almost all my dresses at Forever 21. Before you start bitching at me about how their cheap clothes fall apart quickly (not necessarily true- I have a red cotton sun dress I bought there in 2009 that I still wear to this day), and are made by exploited children in third world countries, I need to stage a fucking reality check about how hard it is to find affordable, non-matronly clothes in plus sizes. Clothes shopping as a fat girl is like going into a restaurant with a million food allergies and realizing that there’s only one or two things on the menu you can eat, if anything at all. You watch the other patrons enjoy their food, while you sit there quietly with your glass of water, and pretend it doesn’t fucking suck. Maybe a food analogy is problematic in this context, but that’s what it’s like. Occasionally I find something that fits at a thrift store, but it’s not a wonderland of cheap, fun finds like it is for my smaller friends.

I recently dropped $50 at a fabulous freaky boutique in Austin that only carried straight sizes, because the owner actually took the effort to treat me like a human being, and managed to find a  skirt in her collection that fit and flattered my curves. Usually I’m ignored, because let’s face it- in the famous words of American Apparel, I’m “not their demographic.” But at the end of the day, the boutique that gave a shit about me as a customer made a $50 sale, whereas I didn’t spend a dime at the other 20 or so boutiques I wandered into that day.

Though I shop Lane Bryant for bras, I don’t touch the rest of their clothes because they’re expensive and frankly, boring. I’m on a limited clothing budget, and the majority of what I wear to work on a day to day basis is black skirts or slacks paired with layered jersey pieces I pick up at Target and the Gap Outlet. (I wear a lot of jersey because it’s cheap, comfortable, meets the minimum requirement of “business casual”  and flatters my crazy hourglass figure.) On weekends and date nights I like to do wild dresses and sexy stockings (and I wear pretty lingerie on a daily basis- this is where a lot of my clothes budget goes.) Faith 21 is my go-to for affordable, fun clothes. I stop by about once a month, and I swear they have different stuff every time I go- if you like something, you have to snap it up before it disappears. I also get a perverse thrill when straight-sized customers accidentally wander into my section and get all hurt that the cute pieces aren’t available in their size. WELCOME TO MY WORLD.

I’ve read snark in online fashion blogs about how women over the age of 30 shouldn’t shop at Forever 21, to which I say: FUCK THAT NOISE. I hate the idea of “appropriate” clothing relative to age, gender, size, or whatever. I refuse to be age appropriate, and I feel like as a fat woman, my body is considered inappropriate, period. If I’m going to be inappropriate by definition, I might as well flaunt my wrongness in style.

Anyhow, a few weeks ago, I had a discussion with my friend Petra (who is sort of my informal spiritual advisor) about getting in touch with my root chakra (yes, I’m very into yoga and tantra), which is a very stable, nuturing, earth-based goddess energy. I am a highly cerebral person (influence of Sagittarius rising and Venus in Gemini), and I sometimes don’t take as much time as I should to connect with my corporeal body (my earthy Taurus sun). Petra told me I should start wearing more red, the root chakra color, to tap into that energy. Most of my clothes that aren’t black are purple (wearing purple shoes, bra and shirt as I type), the color of the 3rd eye chakra, the mind. The first thing I did was get a red pedicure, since the feet are part of the root chakra. Then I headed over to Forever 21 to see if I could find a red dress for summer!

Dress #1 

I loved this one on the hanger- it has a very cool raised hem in the front with a cute ruffle, and an interesting cut out on the back. But it looked like a sack of potatoes on my body thanks to the unflattering bust, and the cut out is totally not compatible with a regular bra. Pass.

Dress #2

I found this one on the sale rack. Even though ruffles are supposedly a no-no for the big busted, I love frilly Dolly Parton shit. I liked this dress a lot better than #1 (and it would probably look even better if I was wearing a color-coordinated bra) but then I figured out it was on sale because it had a giant black grease stain near the hem. Pass.

Dress #3

One of the rules I’ve learned to break shopping in the fatshion trenches is avoiding tight clothes. I’ve got an hourglass figure, albeit a thick one, and if a piece is tight in the right way, it looks amazing. I instantly fell in love with this dress, and at $20 the price is right. In truth, the stripes are deep pink, not red, but I figure that’s close enough, and I feel very sexy and goddess-like wearing this. I can’t wait to rock this piece all summer long!

What are you stoked to wear this summer, peeps? Tell me about it in the comments.

From Chitown with Love,

Bianca James

More Fatshion fun here!



  1. Fabulous post. I love that you are so in love with your own real self, and no B.S. about it. This post should be syndicated in every magazine that has a skinny model somewhere in it… I like dress #3 too, and the red toenails 🙂 EllaDee

  2. swtcin57 says:

    LOVE, LOVE, LOOVE #3!!! #2 is also cute, too bad it had a grease spot! Such a well written article, and exuberantly expressed! Me thinks you speak for all big butt, big tits, curvy girls!!! ❤

  3. swtcin57 says:

    You know, I feel the same way about lingerie… As long as I dress pretty/sexy underneath, I KNOW I am always feelin’ prettysexy, whether the rest of my attire follows suit or not! 😉

  4. Brighid says:

    Great post, great recommendation, too. I covet, covet, covet the pink and black dress (#3), and I love #2 in a very fun, flirty, summery sort of way. It makes me think it needs to be worn with a big sun hat, giant sunglasses, while sipping a big ass margarita.

    • Thanks hon! I have a very similar black dress, and giant sunglasses with gold snake frames, now I just need a sun hat that will fit my giant head (and a giant margarita!!!)… I’m actually buying #3 dress and shipping it to my doppelganger in the UK because she covets it so. Seriously, homegirl and I have the same build, similar hair and face…it’s freaky! And since she’s on another continent I don’t mind if she rocks the same look. 🙂

  5. shannonhumphreys says:

    Bianca, that dress (#3) is so freaking hot!!
    I’ve heard that whole Forever 21 is for under 30’s mess before to and EFF THAT. I used to live across the road from the Mall at Millenia in Orlando, and it was pretty much the only store I could afford to shop at. I’m still wearing a military style hoodie I picked up there on sale for $12 BAM!

    As for this summer, UGH. I have a maxi dress I’m hoping I still fit in. This baby is due 18 July, so I plan on being hot, sticky and probably weepy all summer long. Maternity/Nursing clothes are SO overpriced… I just can’t bring myself to spend money on them! Oh, I also have a really nice wrap dress I bought at a vintage shop that I’m still rocking, so that’s 2 pieces of clothing I plan on wearing through the summer. I’m so totally going to smell.

  6. You go Bianca, I’m glad you took my Chakra advice. Along with the Shakti Mantra you are well on your way! If anyone else is interested in this information check out

  7. Shortie says:

    Bianca – thanks for posting. Yesterday, I was at JC Penney and they had a very nice Plus Section that was not totally awful. Plus, I found very little over $50.. they have redesigned their stores/branding, so it’s not so “old!”… 🙂 If you’re ever near one, swing by! Plus, there is a Sephora in each one!

  8. Hi,Lily.Nice to meet you.Welcome to China!I am a chinese girl,26years old.When I see your fohisan clothes photos,I am so exciting.Wish to see more your photos. Forest

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